Sabbath Origins

George Athas gathas at mail.usyd.edu.au
Sun Dec 5 18:38:04 EST 1999


> >Well, Ian, we do have differing views on the dating of various biblical
> books. You're
> >dating most texts to the Hellenistic era, whereas I'd date most of the
> 'Former Prophets'
> >to the Persian Era (but with a few elements perpetrated from before 586
> BCE).
>
> I'll give you a bit more time, George!   (-:

We'll see....

> Sorry, George, but it seems I may have confused you here. The argument is
> that sabbath is full moon. This is the parallel [...]

Sorry, my mistake. I did understand you.

between Ps81 "new moon,
> full moon and feast day" with Hos2:11 "new moon, sabbath, feast day" (and
> Isa1:13 "new moon, sabbath, convocation day"). The order of "new moon,
> sabbath, feast day" is logical if sabbath equals "full moon", but the order
> in Chr, "sabbath, new moon, feast day" is logical if sabbath equals
> "seventh day".

Sorry, I can't see the relevance of the argument. The order seems just as logical in all
references if we're understanding Sabbath as a seventh day rest. You're supposing that
there is some kind of fixed order or progression to festivals when they are mentioned. I
don't see why this has to be the case. Yet, even allowing for such a fixed progression,
there's no reason why Sabbath must equal 'full moon'. Why not just say 'full moon' rather
than 'Sabbath'? Isn't 'stopping' part of all festivals? Yet, the terminology at least
suggests that 'Sabbath' is an explicitly stop-oriented festival or week-oriented festival,
not a lunar-oriented festival.

Other texts like Amos8:5 put the two terms "new moon" and
> sabbath on equal terms, somehow related to each other.

Connected, yes. Equated, no. Both are stop-work festivals, but that's about as much as you
can argue. They are paralleled, but not equated as identical.

> > When the first day of the month was considered the new moon then the
> fifteenth day (shapattu) was the full moon. (Lunar months are of course 29
> or 30 days long, so one can't consider the possibility that after a month
> the weeks of a month would be maintained in a static manner.)

Because the first day of the month could start on any day of the week.

Perhaps you can provide some more info on the 'shapattu' you mention here. Can we
linguistically connect it with _shabbat_?

Best regards,
George Athas
 Dept of Semitic Studies,
 University of Sydney
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